EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Estonia: EIRO CAR on the Changing Business Landscape in the Electricity sector and Industrial Relations in Europe

About

Country: 
Estonia
Author: 
Liina Osila, Kirsti Nurmela
Institution: 
PRAXIS Center for Policy Studies

Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

In Estonia, over 90% of electricity and heat is produced from the oil shale, however the share of renewable energies has grown rapidly in recent years. The number of electricity production companies has risen from 32 in 2005 to 50 in 2009, while the number of employees working in electricity production companies has dropped from 2,695 in 2005 to 2,320 in 2009. The employment in the whole energy sector was 13,300 in 2009 which made up about 3.3% of total number of employees. There are several employers associations and two trade unions active in the electricity sector and most of the employees are covered by a collective agreement.

1. General background information on the energy policy in your country and employment trends

1.1. Please explain briefly the main governmental strategies/action in relation to the electricity production and energy source mix. In your answer, please include information on the following aspects, where possible:

  • Is there an outspoken policy or plan in your country for any kind of change towards an increase or decrease of electricity production with any of the different sources (coal, oil, gas, hydro, eolic, sun, etc.)?
  • Which is the targeted energy mix for the future (see material provided)? How, in which subsequent steps, such targets are expected to be met?
  • Are investments in networks (new connections, upgrade) envisaged? To what extent? With which specific goals?
  • What is the Government stance and what are the ongoing/envisaged action towards generation of electricity from the different broad groups of sources: nuclear /fossile /renewable energy?
  • What are the recent employment trends in the different subsectors of power generation according to the different broad groups of sources: nuclear/fossile/renewable energy? Please indicate development since 2005 with reference to generation, disribution, and sale separately.

There are different development plans in Estonia that set out goals for the next 10 to 15 years on the use of energy in the country. The outlining goal is to decrease the use of oil shale energy and replace it with renewable energies through financial support in the energy and agricultural and forestry sectors as well as measures to support R&D in sector-related companies. It is set out that:

The biggest potential of different renewable energies for the future is seen in wood and other biofuels (mostly in combined heat and power plants) and wind. In longer perspective, the state is also interested in the production of nuclear energy. However it has not yet been decided whether Estonia will have a nuclear power plant in the future or if Estonia will be a part of a nuclear power plant project in a neighbouring country.

As in other EU countries, the security of supply has risen on the agenda in Estonia. For that, Estonia is interested in being connected to the rest of the internal electricity and natural gas market of the EU. By 2013, Estonia will open its electricity market. Thus, overall Estonian electricity sector is going through changes and will be influenced by many factors in the coming years.

According to the available data, the number of enterprises in electricity power generation, transmission and distribution has increased from 187 in 2005 to 192 in 2009. The number of electricity production companies has risen from 32 in 2005 to 50 in 2009, while the number of employees working in electricity production companies has dropped from 2,695 in 2005 to 2,320 in 2009. The employment in the whole energy sector was 13,300 in 2009 which made up about 3.3% of total number of employees.

By different subsectors, only employment data of 2009 is available. Thus, it is not possible to analyse trends in sub-sectors. Employment in subsectors in 2009 is divided as follows:

  • production of electricity, oil shale – 1,558 employees;
  • production of electricity, wind and hydro – 79 employees;
  • production of electricity, other sources (mainly biomass, gas etc) – 216 employees;
  • transmission, distribution and trade of electricity – 1,593 employees.

(Source: Praxis, University of Tartu, 2011)

1.2. Government policy for increase of the share of renewable resources according to the RES directive

  • Are any subsidies being granted for different types of RES for electricity providers? If yes, please provide briefly the details
  • Have subsidies for RES been cut recently? Was this a result of the crisis, of budget constraints, or the result of a policy revision (following a policy assessment, due to a disporportionate use of subsidies, etc.)? Please provide brief details.
  • Are there any other forms of support foreseen for promoting electricity generation of RES?
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding the state of play and the future prospects of RES in your country.

Government provides subsidies for different types of renewable electricity providers. According to the Electricity Market Act an electricity producer has the right for support if the electricity is generated from a renewable energy source. The support in case the energy is generated from renewable energy sources and in case the electricity is generated from using an efficient cogeneration regime is €0.0537 for a kilowatt-hour in 2011. The support in case the electricity is generated from the waste within the meaning of the Waste Act peat or oil-shale processing retort gas or if the electricity is generated from an efficient cogeneration regime with a generating installation which has a net capacity not exceeding 10 MW is €0.032 for a kilowatt-hour in 2011.

The subsidies were not cut during the crisis years and according to the Estonian Competition Authority (Konkurentsiamet) the volume of the support provided to the renewable energy producers has increased over ten times since 2007, when the support system was put into effect, from €5,624,440 to around €61,485,363 in 2010. In October 2011, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications (Majandus- ja Kommunikatsiooniministeerium) revealed the plan to reduce the financial support for renewable energy producers starting from 2013 and make it depend upon stock market prices.

The cut in financial support has been opposed by several sector related organisations. It has been pointed out that the current subsidy rates have been taken into consideration in several projects already approved (Estonian Wind Power Association, ETEA) and it would have a negative effect on the investment climate due to lack of stability in support systems (Estonian Renewable Energy Association, Eesti Taastuvenergia Koda) and Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ). It has been pointed out that hydro energy power plants in Estonia are very small and their ability to operate without the support is doubtful (Eesti Veskivaramu). Estonian Biofuel Association (EBÜ) pointed out that the subsidies for different renewable energy production should have been differentiated from the beginning based on the need.

In addition to financial support, use of renewable energy sources is also supported through R&D development (e.g. investments in technology, research etc).

1.3. Are there any studies and documents assessing the employment impact of energy policies and of prospective changes in the energy mix within the electricity sector? This could include, for instance,

  • Employment effects resulting from the unbundling of activities (production from distribution)
  • Employment effects (on quantity and quality of work) resulting from the possible shifts within the electricity production sector from traditional sources to RES
  • Employment effects from investments in infrastructure (renewal of grids, introduction of smart meter technology, district heating)
  • The need for retraining of workers or provision of new qualifications linked to the sector transformations
  • Possible spatial mobility of workers as a result of more decentralised production (linked both to new activities and to restructuring of existing ones)
  • Please include any other aspects you consider to be worth mentioning regarding prospective impacts on employment and industrial relations

A recent study on labour force in the energy sector (Praxis, University of Tartu 2011) charted the current employment structure in the sector, put forth a forecast of labour-force demand in the energy sector and analysed the need for development of labour quality. The analysis provides an up-to-date overview of expected employment changes in the sector.

Since Estonia is interested in nuclear power and possibly having a nuclear power plant in the future, the creation of knowledge on nuclear power and the development and implementation of necessary legislation is set as a goal National Development Plan for the Energy Sector until 2020. Estonian universities are planning to open master’s course on nuclear energy in the fall of 2012.

1.4 To what extent are the social partners involved or consulted concerning the governmental energy policy, notably in relation to employment impacts? Has this happened on an ad-hoc basis or on a structural, permanent basis? Is there a special tripartite social dialogue body for such consultations? Did consultation take place at national level, at sector level, or at the initiative of individual companies? Please briefly provide details.

Representatives of different employer associations stated that they are informed of different issues regarding the energy policy (draft acts, seminars etc), however most employer association representatives stated that the government does not consult with them or the consultation process is formal and in order to pass along any ideas, they have to be proactive and take the initiative themselves. According to the representatives of employer associations, there are no permanent or tripartite bodies for consultations, meaning that the informing and consulting happens on an ad-hoc basis. Trade union representatives stated that they are not involved or consulted in energy policy issues. Also, both employer associations and trade union representatives stated that they are not involved or consulted in energy policy issues that regard employment impacts.

2. Composition, structure and employment trends for the different resources used for electricity production

2.1 Please give an overview of the current sectoral composition of electricity production in your country, by giving for each of these seven groups of energy sources, the NAME of the three largest producing, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

For all companies listed, as a summary, please indicate:

  1. Total production and its distribution across different energy sources
  2. Total employment and its distribution across different energy sources
  3. Production plants and their respective energy source(s)
Electricity production

Electricity production with

TOP 3

PRODUCING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

FOSSIL FUELS

Eesti Energia

7,552

2010

private

Viru Keemia Grupp

1,406

2010

private

       
NUCLEAR

Does not exist in Estonia

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

       
       
HYDRO

Eesti Energia (Linnamäe and Keila-Joa hydro electricity power plant)

7,552

2010

Private

       
       
WIND

Nelja Energia

14-15

2011

Private

Eesti Energia

7,552 (10 in wind energy)

2010

Private

       
BIOMASS

Fortum

no information

N.A.

private

Kuressaare Soojus

37

2010

private

Tallinna Elektrijaam

no information

N.A.

private

PHOTO-VOLTAIC

ABB AS

N.A.

N.A.

private

Energy Smart

N.A.

N.A.

private

       

Number of employees refers to total number of employees in the company rather than number of employees under this specific activity

The information on production companies by market share in different sub-sectors is not available therefore the information demonstrated in the table is put together from available information and comments from interviews.

It has been stated in the National Development Plan for the Utilization of Oil Shale 2008-2015 that the main enterprise that produces electricity from oil-shale is the Eesti Energia Narva power plants (over 90% of production) and smaller producers are VKG Energia, Sillamäe heat electricity power plant and Kiviõli Keemiatööstus.

According to ETEA, there were 75 wind turbines in Estonia in 2010, with a total power of 147 MW, which is around 6% of total energy production capacity in Estonia. There are two big wind power producers - OÜ Nelja Energia with 38 wind turbines (90MW) and Eesti Energia with 16 wind turbines (40,1 MW), other wind turbines belong to six smaller enterprises.

Hydro electricity power plants in Estonia are all very small, the biggest hydro electricity power plants (Linnamäe and Keila hydro electricity power plants) belong to Eesti Energia and produce 1,6MW of electricity, which is around 0.1% of the total energy production capacity in Estonia (KPMG, 2010).

2.2. Please provide an overview of the current organisation of electricity distribution in your country. Is there a single distributing company/body? Are there multiple companies? At national or territorial level?

The affiliate company of the largest energy producer Eesti Energia, Eesti Energia Jaotusvõrk OÜ has the largest market share of electricity distribution (86%) followed by VKG Elektrivõrgud OÜ. Eesti Energia Jaotusvõrk OÜ currently has around 1,000 employees. VKG Elektrivõrgud OÜ currently has around 62 employees. VKG Elektrivõrgud OÜ serves the cities located in the Northeastern Estonia. According to the Estonian Competition Authority there are 36 distribution enterprises in Estonia all together.

2.3 Please indicate the NAME of the three largest distributing companies, the NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES of these companies, and the public or private STATUS of the EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with their employees.

Distribution companies
 

TOP 3

DISTRIBUTING COMPANIES

(the largest 3 in market share)

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

Reference year for the number of employees

Private/Public STATUS of WORKERS

Distribution GRID

Eesti Energia Jaotusvõrk

1,000

2010

private

VKG Elektrivõrgud

62

2010

private

Fortum Elekter

45

2010

private

2.4. Where there any significant developments/changes since 2008 for a specific company or source of electricity production in numbers of employees or in their public/private status? Was this due to the current economic crisis? Were there any instances of unbundling or mergers? With what consequences in terms of employment and industrial relations?

The number of employees in Eesti Energia, which is the largest electricity and heat producer in Estonia and also the biggest employer in Estonia dropped from 8,417 in 2007/2008 to 7,552 in 2010. The main reason was the difficult economic situation and the need to increase efficiency in order to save on expenses. As a result some redundancies occurred.

3. Industrial relations in the electricity sector: Actors

3.1. Please provide details on the membership in the electricity sector and membership of the top 3 producing and distributing companies in employer’s organisation (see questions 2.1-2.3 above). Please provide information on the name of the trade unions organising in this subsector and the level of their membership, or otherwise provide overall data but please include indications on differences in membership densities across subsectors.

Trade union representation and Membership to employers’ organisation
FOSSIL FUELS

Eesti Energia

Estonian Employers’ Confederation (ETTK)

Association of Estonian Electrical Industry (ETL)

Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions (EEAÜL)

Independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers (Kaevurite ja Energeetikatöötajate Sõltumatu Ametiühing)

Viru Keemia Grupp

Estonian Association of Electrical Enterprises (EETEL)

   
NUCLEAR

N.A.

N.A.

N.A.

   
   
HYDRO

Eesti Energia

Estonian Employers’ Confederation (ETTK)

Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions (EEAÜL)

   
   
WIND

Nelja Energia

Estonian Wind Power Association (ETEA)

Estonian Biofuel Association (EBÜ)

Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions (EEAÜL)

Eesti Energia

Estonian Employers’ Confederation (ETTK)

Estonian Wind Power Association (ETEA)

Association of Estonian Electrical Industry (ETL)

   
BIOMASS

Fortum

Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ)

Estonian Biofuel Association (EBÜ)

 

Kuressaare Soojus

Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ)

Estonian Biofuel Association (EBÜ)

Tallinna Elektrijaam

Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ)

PHOTO-VOLTAIC

ABB Estonia

Estonian Employers Confederation (ETTK)

Estonian Solar Energy Association (Eesti Päikeseenergia Assotsiatsioon)

Estonian Association of Electrical Enterprises (EETEL)

 

Energy Smart

Estonian Solar Energy Association (Eesti Päikeseenergia Assotsiatsioon)

   

Notes: The detailed information on trade union representation is not available (see also 3.2 below); therefore the level of trade union membership in each subsector companies is not demonstrated

In some enterprises there may exist trade unions, however the information is not avaliable

There are also other employer associations in the biomass sub-sector (Estonian Biogas Association (Eesti Biogaasi Assotsiatsioon) and Estonian Peat Association (Eesti Turbaliit)

And in the distributing companies

Distribution GRID

companies

Eesti Energia Jaotusvõrk OÜ

Estonian Employers Confederation (ETTK)

Association of Estonian Electrical Industry (ETL)

Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions (EEAÜL)

VKG Elektrivõrgud OÜ

Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ)

Fortum Elekter

Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ)

Estonian Biofuel Association (EBÜ)

3.2 To what extent are employees in the different subsectors (fossil/nuclear/RES) covered by trade union representation? Has there been any impact of the crisis on trade union representation?

It is difficult to report employees trade union coverage by different sub-sectors since such data is not collected. There are no trade unions created in the different renewable energy sub-sectors and the two existing energy workers trade unions both accept members from all energy subsectors. Despite that, the majority of trade union members are employees working in enterprises that produce energy and electricity from oil shale (Eesti Energia). According to the representative of the Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions, trade union members who are active in the renewable energy sectors form a very small part of their membership (2.5% of 2,000 members). The representative of the Independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers (Kaevurite ja Energeetikatöötajate Sõltumatu Ametiühing) also stated that only a few members of their trade union work in renewable energy sector (the number of members is around 1,600). The representatives of different employer associations (Estonian Power and Heat Association, Association of Estonian Electrical Industry, Estonian Wind Power Association, Estonian Biomass Association, Estonian Renewable Energy Association) could also not give an estimation as to how many employees working in their subsector belong to a trade union since they are not involved in industrial relations.

3.3 Have there been major reorganisations/splits/mergers of trade unions or employers organisations in the sector during the last five years?

In March 2011, the Estonian Oil Shale Producers Trade Union Confederation (EPTAL) was reorganised to an Independent Trade Union of Mining and Energy Workers (Kaevurite ja Energeetikute Sõltumatu Ametiühing). The new trade union was formed of five miners’ trade union and one energy workers trade union. The reasons for reorganisation were to improve the work of the trade union, to economize the financial resources and to support miners and energy workers in different cases, for example in case of losing a job. The new trade union signed a collective agreement with Narva Power Plants on 1 April 2011 and according to the collective agreement, the wages of employees of Narva Power Plants increased up to 15%.

There have been no reorganisations/splits or mergers of employer organisations, however the representative of Estonian Association of Electrical Enterprises (EETEL) stated that for such a small country, Estonia has too many employer associations and that in order to have a bigger co-operational capability some employer associations should merge.

3.4. Have new actors (trade unions or employers organisations) been founded in recent years, especially in the newly evolving RES industries? Or is the industry covered by established actors?

Three new employer organisations have been created in the renewable energy sector. In June 2009, the Estonian Biogas Association (Eesti Biogaasi Assotsiatsioon) was created by enterprises, private persons and other institutions who are involved in the production of biogas, development of biogas projects and in scientific research regarding biogas production. The aim of the association is to promote the use of biogas energy and energy production from biogas.

In May 2011, Estonian Renewable Energy Association (Eesti Taastuvenergia Koda) was created by Estonian Power and Heat Association (EJKÜ), Estonian Biogas Association, Estonian Wind Power Association (ETEA) and Estonian Veskivaramu. The aim of the Association is to promote the use of renewable energies and so that in the longer run the renewable energies would replace the use of non-renewable energy.

In October 2011, Estonian Solar Energy Association (Eesti Päikeseenergia Assotsiatsioon) was created by enterprises, non-profit organisations, public bodies and scientists who are interested in developing solar energy in Estonia. The aim of the association is to help to develop and contribute in more favourable environment in order to broaden the use of solar energy in Estonia.

Although there are no nuclear power plants in Estonia, in March 2008 the Estonian Nuclear Power Plant Association (Eesti Tuumajaam) was created. The aim of the association is to contribute into public understanding about benefits and risks of nuclear power and to contribute into transparency of development process of Estonian Nuclear power plant.

3.5. Have the established sectoral actors (both trade unions and employer organisations) started any initiative to extend their representation to the new emerging parts of the sector? Please describe such initiatives and their results so far.

The representative of Estonian Renewable Energy Association and EJKÜ stated that they have not taken any initiatives to expand their representation, however all enterprises that have an interest in their activities and who respond to the requirements stipulated in their associations’ constitution were welcome to join.

The representative of ETEA stated that they had created a wind power cluster in 2010 and the cluster is committed to the development of a development strategy for the Estonian wind power industry sector and enabling its partners to participate in international energy production and technology cooperation projects. Currently the cluster includes 10 members.

The representative of EETEL and EBÜ stated that currently they are not interested in extending their representation into the newly emerging parts.

The representative of the EEAÜL stated that they plan and want to extend their representation, not only in the newly emerging parts of the sector but in the whole energy sector. Thus, they expect employees from different energy production sub-sectors to join their trade union, however, according to the representative of the EEAÜL, new members are hard to find. The representative of the Independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers also stated that they plan to recruit new members in the future.

4. Role of collective bargaining and social dialogue

4.1 Please provide information on the structure of collective bargaining in the electricity sector. Please, briefly mention the main characteristics of collective bargaining:

  • At what level are collective agreements within the subsectors of the electricity sector (traditional providers, newly emerging providers) concluded (company, sectoral level and/or inter-sectoral level)? Is there a difference between the producers and the distributors?
  • Estimate the coverage rate of collective bargaining in terms of companies and employees: are there any differences in coverage across different subsectors of electricity production?

There is no sectoral level collective agreement concluded in the electricity sector, however several collective agreements have been concluded at the enterprise level. According to EEAÜL, 99.9% of EEAÜL members are covered with some collective agreement. Three most significant collective agreements are concluded with Elering OÜ which covers 140 employees, Eesti Energia that covers 1,738 employees and Empower AS that covers 300 employees. The independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers also has two collective agreements, one in Eesti Energia Narva Power Plants and the other in Eesti Energia Kaevandused AS. The two collective agreements cover around 3,200 employees. However the information on all enterprise level agreements is not available and therefore it is difficult to estimate the coverage rate of collective bargaining in terms of companies and employees. Since most of the energy in Estonia is produced from oil shale, it can be assumed that the employees working in the fossil energy subsector are more covered by collective agreements than employees working in renewable energy subsectors.

4.2 Please comment on the most recent collective agreements reached at sector level and at company level. Please address the following topics:

  • Pay and working time: level and trends relative to the national average and significant differences across subsectors of the electricity industry.

There is no sector level collective agreement concluded in the electricity sector and detailed information on enterprise level collective agreements is not available. According to the information given by the trade unions, there have been no changes in the working time and wages have been increased by the collective agreement which is usually revised every year. In the beginning of 2011 the Estonian Oil Shale Producers Trade Union Confederation (EPTAL) (Independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers) demanded a pay rise for miners claiming that the wages had not been raised in three years. In April a new collective agreement was concluded between Eesti Energia and (EPTAL) which raised wages by 5-11% (EE1105019I). The wage in the energy sector is overall higher compared to the national average wage. The average gross monthly wage has increased from €989 in 2008 to € 1,112 in 2010 according to Statistics Estonia and it was about 29% higher compared to the national average gross monthly wage in 2010 (€792).

4.3. Cooperation between the social partners and government

  • Have the government started any social dialogue or social concentration in the electricity sector since 2008? Please illustrate the features and results of any such initiatives.
  • Have bipartite and/or tripartite bodies dealing with specific issues of the electricity industry been created since 2008?
  • Have there been since 2008 any joint initiatives of cooperation between social partners to influence or steer the energy policy developed by the government in your country? Or have such initiatives been taken separately by certain social partner organisations
  • Have the social partners been involved in the making of the national action plan to reach the 2020 target, or in issues aiming to secure the supply of enough electricity?

A representative of ETEA brought out that the government took the initiative to sell the unused CO2 emission permits and some of the money from the sale was also given to support projects from renewable energy sub-sectors. Also, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication has revealed the plan to cut the subsidies for renewable energy production (see 1.2).

No bi/tripartite bodies have been created in the electricity sector since 2008. The Estonian Qualifications Authority (Kutsekoda) which has an Energy, Mining and Chemical Industry Professionals Council where representatives from employer organisations, trade unions and government agencies meet. However the aim of the Estonian Qualifications Authority is to develop the professional qualifications system for different occupations and other issues of electricity industry are not discussed.

According to the representatives of different employers association, they cooperate with each other in order to steer the energy policy developed by the government. In May 2011, the Estonian Renewable Energy Association was created by different employer associations active in the renewable energy sector (See 3.4). In September 2011, ETL concluded a cooperation agreement with EJKÜ and Private Forest Centre and Estonian Wood and Timber Association, the aim of the agreement is ensure the sustainability of Estonian woods, the sufficient use of wood, timber and also promote the use of renewable energy gained from combined power and heat production plants.

The representative of EBÜ brought out that they mainly cooperate with the Estonian Biogas Association. Currently they are elaborating the foundations of Estonian energy policy. The aim is to see which renewable energy sources need more subsidies and how the subsidy system should be reorganised.

Trade union representatives also noted that they cooperate with each other and also with other trade unions that are members in Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL). Cooperation mainly involves employment issues, information sharing and collective agreement negotiations.

Representatives of all employer associations stated that they have been involved in the making of national action plan to reach the 2020 target (they are informed and they can make proposals and turn attention to issues important to them) (see 1.1.).

4.4. Please provide information about the views of the trade unions and employer organisations on the main changes regarding employment and working conditions affecting the sector since 2008 and especially on the impact of the current crisis (for instance on employment trends, quality of jobs, working hours, wages, fixed-term employment, part-time, temporary agency work, participation in training, outsourcing, subcontracting etc.).

All employer associations stated that since they are not involved in employment issues they do not have information about the main changes regarding employment and working conditions that have influenced the sector since 2008. Many representatives brought out that the crisis did not have a significant impact on the renewable energy sector. However new jobs and enterprises have been created since 2008 in the renewable energy sub-sectors mainly due to the subsidies given to renewable energy providers.

ETEA and EJKÜ brought out the need for qualified workers in enterprises and also experts on renewable energies in universities and in government agencies. As the use of different renewable energies increases, the need for workers also increases and if this problem is not going to be addressed soon, it will become an obstacle for developing the use of different renewable energies in the future.

The representative of EEAÜL stated that the main change in working conditions is the intensification of work pace due to the reduction of workers in recent years and that there has been no other big changes (see 4.2).

5. Commentary

Although the larger share of Estonian electricity and heat is produced from oil shale, the share of renewable energy has increased remarkably in recent years. This has also brought along the creation of many new employer associations in the energy sector, who aim to promote the use of renewable energies. In addition, there are two trade unions and several collective agreements concluded in the sector, which cover mainly the employees working in the oil-shale sub-sector. In the nearer future, more changes are ahead for the electricity sector in Estonia. Currently the issue of reducing the subsidies for renewable energy producers is on the agenda and in 2013 Estonia will open its electricity market.

Liina Osila, Kirsti Nurmela, Praxis Center for Policy Studies

References:

Interviews with representatives of employer associations:

  • Mr Rene Tammist, Estonian Renewable Energy Association (Eesti Taastuvenergia Koda)
  • Ms Tuuliki Kasonen, Estonian Wind Power Association (Eesti Tuuleenergia Assotsiatsioon)
  • Ms Õnnely Reidla, Estonian Power and Heat Association (Eesti Jõujaamade ja Kaugkütte Ühing)
  • Ms Mae Juske, MTÜ Eesti Veskivaramu
  • Mr Ülo Kask, Estonian Biofuel Association (Eesti Biokütuste Ühing)
  • Representative of the Estonian Association of Electrical Enterprises (Eesti Elektritööde Ettevõtjate Liit)
  • Ms Iren Narits, Association of Estonian Electrical Industry (Eesti Elektritööstuse Liit)

Interviews with representatives of trade unions:

  • Mr Vladislav Ponjatovski, Independent Trade Union of Miners’ and Energy Workers (Kaevurite ja Energeetikute Sõltumatu Ametiühing)
  • Mr Sander Vaikma, Association of Estonian Energy Workers' Trade Unions (Eesti Energeetikatöötajate Ametiühingute Liit)